Workforce Planning 101: Tips for Starting Your Workforce Planning Journey

  • by Doug Rippey, Workforce Analytics and Planning Practice Lead, Aasonn
  • May 25, 2015
Learn how to take the (sometimes daunting) plunge into implementing strategic workforce planning. Learn more about the details and where to begin the process. Gain tips and guidance on starting the journey and moving up the maturity curve in building a repeatable, sustainable, and strategic process.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article you will learn:

  • How to approach a workforce planning implementation and begin the journey
  • Key concepts to help with successful adoption of workforce planning
  • Guidance in determining the people, processes, and technology required for successfully using workforce planning
Key Concept

Workforce planning is the process that guides the strategic direction of talent management activities to ensure that an organization has the right talent now and in the future to successfully execute its business strategy. While this definition is straightforward, implementing workforce planning is anything but easy; however, with some forethought and planning, organizations can be successful in creating a repeatable, sustainable, and successful process.

Some common statements heard when the subject turns to workforce planning:

“HR wants us to do something else that will take time away from running the business.”

“Workforce planning? What does that even mean? Isn’t it HR’s job to hire people when we need them?”

“Our business strategy is constantly changing. We don’t know what we’ll need next month, much less next year.”

The concept of workforce planning has been around for years, but continues to be an area that is misunderstood and rarely implemented well. Not doing workforce planning well can negatively affect an organization’s ability to compete effectively and execute on business strategy; however, because of other projects and resource drains, many organizations ignore workforce planning and don’t realize its importance until it is too late. With a little planning and guidance, organizations that are exploring workforce planning can get off to the right start. Organizations that have tried before, unsuccessfully, can restart the process and continue the journey up the maturity curve.

In this article, I provide  some tips for organizations that don’t have workforce planning in place can use to get them started on the right track, and offer up some suggestions to think about while building it, including:

  1. Defining workforce planning for your organization
  2. Proving its value to the organization
  3. Defining critical roles
  4. Other data segmentation
  5. Gaining key business leader and executive support
  6. Building the right governance model and organizational structure to deliver

Doug Rippey

Doug Rippey has worked with clients in the talent management world for more than 20 years as a leader for top HR consultancies. Since 2002 he has specialized in the workforce planning and analytics space. Currently, he is the Workforce Analytics and Planning Practice Lead for Aasonn.

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